Machines and fun… don’t exactly necessarily go hand in hand.
Think of a machine – it’s likely to be something that someone uses to get a job done. So, generally work related. And work is… Boring. Unless you happen to have an exciting and creative job like we do.
Ideally, a machine would be intuitive to use, and at Innovolo, whenever we get asked to design anything machine-like, one of the things we strive for is intuitiveness. You try and make it so anyone could use it (safely).
However, there are some machines that are inherently complex. Unfortunately, try as you might, you can’t make the MRI scanner intuitive to use. And although cars are easier and easier to use now, you still need inducting into that black art of navigating the great outdoors and traffic lights and roundabouts.
So, product training is necessary.
So we throw together a quick instruction leaflet, give the first user a quick demo, then it’s ‘sink or swim, Buster’. And the poor hapless user has a go, messes up, has another go, wastes more time and effort, and gradually by learning from mistakes, eventually learns how to operate the machine easily, efficiently and safely – hopefully without wrecking the machine in the process.
There has to be a better way than this. Yes, there is a learning curve, but there has to be a way to steepen that learning curve so you get competence quicker and cheaper.
So, training has to include some core principles to be effective:
- The Delivery – How the training is delivered is crucial. Adding some humour always helps, but ultimately, you have to attract the attention of the learners, gain their interest for the duration of the training, keep them engaged and ensure they are motivated to go and try out what they have learned. You can’t do that with a manual or a dry PowerPoint running by itself.
- The Visuals – Apparently 65% of people are visual learners, so it’s important to get some relevant visuals in there. Forget stock photos. How about animations of the task? Keep the text to a minimum – and here, I’m guilty as charged here.
- Tell a Story – how about running a comic? Or tell a story in the form of a video? Some of the most effective training sessions don’t actually feel like training at all, but effectively get the principles over in a subliminal way.
Oh, and by the way, Innovolo don’t offer product training by itself – we’re not the experts, but we do know the products being developed, and we partner with other specialist training providers to help provide a full package of product development.